Inspire Charter School CEO Placed on Leave of Absence - NBC 7 San Diego

Inspire Charter School CEO Placed on Leave of Absence

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    Inspire Charter School CEO Leave of Absence

    NBC 7s Rory Devine explains the latest controversy surrounding the school. (Published Friday, Sept. 27, 2019)

    The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Inspire Charter Schools, Nick Nichols, was placed on a temporary leave of absence, Inspire announced this week.

    This comes a week after a major player in the state's charter school industry said it was rescinding Inspire's membership and recommending an independent audit of the school's management.

    Inspire families were notified of the change in a letter sent Wednesday morning, saying:

    "The principals of each of the schools have been informed and expect Dr. Nichols' leave to have minimal impact on the day to day operations of our schools which are in excellent hands, led by our amazing team of administrators and dedicated staff members committed to meeting the needs of our families."

    Inspire is a home-based charter school enrolling students in California. It has two schools in San Diego County overseen by the Dehesa School District.

    NBC 7 Investigates reported in August, that some educators have strongly criticized Inspire charter school. They've questioned the charter's ethics and how it at one time allowed parents to use taxpayer money to visit theme parks and attend dinner theater performances.

    NBC 7 investigates reported last week, the California Charter School Association rescinded Inspire's membership and recommended an independent audit of the school's management.

    In a letter to parents, Inspire executives said, "The association has abdicated its role as an advocate for family educational choice."

    This comes as the Dehesa School District which oversees Inspire hired an outside firm to audit Inspire's finances.

    The state also says it is doing a preliminary investigation into charters schools, including – Inspire. Inspire has denied any wrongdoing.

    Chief Operating Officer, Doctor Steven Lawrence is now Inspire's Interim Executive Director, according to the letter sent to families.

    Nichols has been with Inspire since 2013. Inspire declined to mention if Nichols was on paid or unpaid leave.